REMEMBERING CHURCHES Russian Orthodox churches and people through times of change
The relationship between Russian Orthodox churches and the Russian people in the times of sociopolitical transformation of the 20th century, and later, appears as changing. However, very little is known about how people think and feel about the churches today, and about their memories of these buildings when they are not being used as churches. The thesis aims at exploring and discussing this relationship, and thus deepen our understanding, starting out from nine semi-structured interviews with Russians and the theoretical concepts of social memory, memory places, remembering and forgetting, etc. The thoughts and memories of the nine interviewees are about religion over time and about the relationship between the Orthodox Church and the state power. Furthermore, they are about the interviewees' connection to the various church buildings: these non-functioning and derelict churches during the Soviet times, as well as the functioning churches. The places of the destroyed churches also appear as important in the informants' stories, as well as the new churches, built after the fall of the Soviet Union. Finally, the Orthodox Church's roll in the contemporaneity is examined. The conclusions are that the Orthodox Church and church buildings are an important element in the society's dealing with the past, in light of the changes that have happened in the Russian society over the last 100 years. Now the old church buildings are perceived both as heritage and as sacral buildings with their rituals; people often relate to the buildings in emotional way through their materiality. Even places for the vanished church buildings are significant as reminders of discontinuity. The ethical dimension is important when dealing with the past; and when turning to the past in the society, a new identity is created, not an old one.
Uppsats för avläggande av filosofie masterexamen med huvudområdet kulturvård 2017, 120 hp Avancerad nivå 2017:26